Glute activation and strengthening is being shown to be extremely important to lower back health and stability. For many of us, a normal day includes an inordinate amount of time in the seated position, from commuting to and from work, sitting at our desks, to sitting at the computer to watching TV. As with any underutilized muscle, the glutes will lose strength and stability due to non-use. Research now suggests that a loss of strength to the glutes can contribute to lower back issues and /or pain.
To counteract this trend it is important to include glute activation exercises to your exercise regiment. A very effective exercise for glute activation is the “quadrupled hip extension” on a bench.
To perform the exercise, kneel down on the floor and lay your torso over a bench. Slide forward until your hip bones touch the edge of the bench. While performing the exercise your goal is to maintain hip contact with the bench the entire time. This will keep your lumbar spine and pelvis in alignment during the exercise. Bend the leg you are going to work at the knee so that the hamstring is in a shortened position. This places a greater demand on the glutes to extend the hip. Lift the thigh toward the ceiling while contracting the glutes. Maintain hip contact during the entire motion. Lift the thigh as high as you can without losing contact with the bench, hold and squeeze for five seconds, then lower. Perform 5-8 reps, then repeat on opposite leg. As you become stronger you can place a dumbbell behind the knee to provide more resistance. If you have questions on how to perform this exercise correctly, please contact one of our Personal Training Staff.